After spending 8 years with Nokia, D Shivakumar, Senior Vice-President (India, Middle East, Asia),has decided to call it quits. The man who led Nokia’s India operations from 2006 till 2011, before moving to Dubai to lead the region, says he wants come back to India.

Speaking to Business Line, Shivakumar said, “I have done my bit for Nokia. India is the market where I want to get back to.”

Shivakumar will continue in the current role in Nokia till June 30 before heading back to India. Apart from career prospects, his family continues to be based in India, even after he moved to West Asia. “I have not decided on my next move,” he said when asked whether he would remain in the telecom sector. He will be mentoring Arto Nummela, VP Smart Devices Nokia as his successor to hit the ground running.

Shivakumar’s exit, however, comes at a time when the Finnish handset maker is facing a lot of heat from the likes of Samsung and Apple. Nokia’s market share in India and globally has declined, especially in the smartphone segment. But Shivakumar says that the handset maker, which once dominated mobile market, will continue to get stronger. “Mobile phones and Internet is changing the way information is now accessible down to a farmer. Nokia has been and will be a major player in bringing this change more quickly,” he said.

Under Shiv, as he is popularly called, Nokia built its entire services portfolio, including Nokia Life Tools. While Shiv is credited for driving up Nokia’s brand from number 71 to Number 1 in the country, there were some major misses in India which happened under his watch including the delay in bringing dual SIM card phones. Although Nokia captured back the dual SIM phone market later, the delay allowed a number of local Indian brands a foot in the door.

The other disappointment was the way Nokia Money services was closed within 2 years of launching it. When asked if he could change anything if given a chance, Shivakumar said,” Of course there are learnings. When you look at the past, one can see how things could have been done dealt with differently.”

People who have closely worked with Shivakumar say that one of his biggest contributions was to drive leadership within the organisation. Chris Weber, EVP Sales And Marketing Nokia said, “In addition to what Shiv has done for Nokia externally – his personal convictions on the importance of leadership have resonated throughout the company.”

“He has been the de-facto HR manager and the best channel of communication between the junior most guy on the field to the head of businesses or units,” said Poonam Kaul, Director, Communications, Nokia India. 

Nokia under Shivakumar

# The mobility retail outlets moved from 35,000 to more than 200,000

# Pioneered new business models for business and in customer care

# Missed dual SIM phone wave

# Building services as a value add to phones, such as Nokia Life Tools which was conceptualised in India, and is global now

# Building the brand in India from No. 71 to No. 1 on the most trusted list.

# Build HR processes like shadow programme, reverse mentoring.

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